As you may or may not know, I am the resident film reviewer on the political themed RADIO TITANS’ podcast LEFT OF WRONG. Because of that I am tasked to watch certain films and documentaries with a political slant. Many of these, especially the documentaries, can weigh heavily on the soul.
THE ACT OF KILLING (2013) completely floored me. THE SQUARE (2013) took me even farther, leaving me heartbroken but also somewhat hopeful.
Following the plight of the common Egyptian citizens who have lived under the thumb of tyranny for almost 30 years, THE SQUARE focuses on the events of the last two and a half years when the straw broke the camels back.
Fed up with the corruption, the Egyptians took to the streets and collected in Cairo’s Tahrir Square to demand the replacement of their current dictator President Mubarak. Joining forces with the Muslim Brotherhood, they united as one people and were successful in their first steps towards a true democracy.
But as in most things, sometimes a step forward is also two steps back. Betrayed by the Muslims, they take over and when their candidate MORSI wins the election, he turns out to be even worse. President Morsi continues to follow the path of the old regime and on top of that, declares himself the new pharaoh.
Undeterred in their pursuit of freedom, the Egyptian citizens mount a revolution that culminates in one of the biggest demonstrations ever in the history of man.
Director Jehane Noujaim puts the viewer smack dab in the middle of the events on the ground floor. We witness history in the making through the eyes of the participants and are there for their highs and lows. It’s no wonder this film was nominated for an Oscar.
I was not completely aware of the situation in Egypt and THE SQUARE did a great job immersing me in the turmoil without relying on exposition. I learned it through the words of the people on all sides of the conflict.
THE SQUARE is a remarkable documentary and I cannot recommend it enough. Just be prepared to put yourself through an emotional rollercoaster that might leave you a little drained by the end.